I’m all about character. Love them or hate them, I think character is crucial to getting a reader to turn the page. I’ll take character over plot any day. Don’t get me wrong, plot is necessary, but for me, as a reader, I have to be intrigued and then care about the character to give a flying you-know-what about whatever plot they’ve gotten themselves tangled up in. You can give me the coolest, smartest, most layered, unique plot ever conceived and if I don’t care about the characters, I won’t read the story. Or watch the movie. I know I’m not alone in this. And so with that being my case, it’s a constant theme with my stories. Character first, plot/world-building second. That’s how I roll.
A mega book-buyer once told me I should be writing contemporary women’s fiction. That I had a natural voice for it. I did share with her that I had a few of those stories written and collecting dust somewhere. I also shared that I enjoyed writing them. But at the time, there was no time for anything except for what I was contracted three years out to write. Well, those three years have come and gone and as life and the industry evolves, so too has Karin.
About four months ago this crazy southern girl by the name of Rebel Yell Culpepper popped out of nowhere into my brain. I have not been able to get rid of her. Which is very much in tune with her character. She’s a girlified version of Colombo with some Annie Oakley thrown in, all wrapped up in the southern style version of Elle Woods, the cheeky Legally Blonde character played by Reese Witherspoon.
Rebel has no filter. She says exactly what’s on her mind and as she keeps reminding Detective Cassius Cantrell in REBEL ROSE, my novella in the Guns and Roses anthology, “There’s more to me than my southern-bell appearance.” And doesn’t Cash find that out when she keeps meddling in his murder investigation.
REBEL ROSE is the prequel to a series I hope to write for a traditional publisher, but if that option isn’t in Rebel Yell Culpepper’s cards, then I can promise you, you’ll be seeing her in the digital original world. She’s just too much of a character to put on a shelf and forget about. Besides, I know if I even tried to put her away, she’d be bugging the ever-loving crap out of me to break her out. So, really, what’s a writer to do?
Which brings me to my question today: Out of all of the stories you have ever read or watched, who is your one favorite all-time-can’t-get-them-out-of-your-head character? To a randomly selected commenter who answers the question, I’ll be throwing a $15.00 Amazon egift certificate your way
Now without further ado, heeerrrzzzz Rebel’s first of several encounters with a not very happy Detective Cantrell!
Holy hell, Rebel thought. Her head pounded worse than a handful of M-80’s on the Fourth of July and she was feelin’ sicker than a goat full of peppers. Somewhere, in the periphery of her alcohol-soaked brain, she knew she was sprawled out in a most unladylike position and her cell phone was ringing. She couldn’t see it, and even if she could, she was too darn sick to her stomach to give a care. She just wanted to crawl back into that dark hole she just rolled out of and go back to sleep.
Slowly, it dawned on her that the Dixie ring tone was Jami’s. Jami. She’d been looking for that flighty girl last night. Jami had been real upset, but why? Rebel couldn’t remember.
Blindly, Rebel felt around the smelly damp carpet for her phone. As her fingertips brushed against it she snatched it up. Fumbling around, she hoped she hit the answer button, and pressed the phone to her ear.
“Hull-oh—” Her voice came out like a croak and Rebel swallowed back the bile rushing up her throat. “Jami? You there, girl?”
“Who is this?” a deep husky voice demanded from the other end. His booming voice reverberated around her. Goosebumps skittered across her skin. It sure as heck wasn’t Jami, and didn’t sound at all like Drew, her boyfriend.
Rebel struggled to open her eyes, but just the slightest bit of sunlight made her stomach roil. She squeezed them shut to block out even the slightest sliver. “Who is this?” she hissed even as she tried not to inhale the nasty scents wafting off the carpet. She swallowed again, harder this time.
“Don’t answer a question with a question,” that ornery male voice said.
Her stomach lurched hard when she opened her eyes. “Hold on,” she gasped. “I’m gonna—” Jose Cuervo and his friend, Goldschlager, came rushing back for an encore. Her belly seized and twisted as she puked up last night’s party. She kept puking until the dry heaves were heaving on dry heaves. She rolled over onto her back to get her nose out of the stench of her puke and the gnarly crap imbedded into the carpet. Dragging the back of her hand across her mouth, ever so slowly, and most reluctantly, Rebel opened her eyes and looked directly up into two furious hazel ones.
The cell phone still in her hand, she raised it to her ear and said, “Jami, I gotta call you back.” She set the phone down and smiled what she imagined was a sly seductive smile. ‘Coz truth be told, even in her incapacitated state, she couldn’t ever recall seeing such a beautiful man in all her twenty-two years on earth. Even if he was pissed as hell that she’d just puked all over his shoes.
He had one of those fallen angel kind of faces: all moody and sexy. The features almost too much, but not quite so much that they didn’t blend all nice and sensual-like. His skin was lighter than milk chocolate, more like the color of the café au lait gran liked to drink. His full lips were pulled tight, and those hazel eyes were blazing like an angry cat’s. Speakin’ of cats—her smile deepened as she sat up and smoothed back her hair. “Well, ain’t you just the Tom cat’s kitten.”
Solving a murder has never been so—irresistible…
For Detective Cash Cantrell, hunting down a University serial killer is as routine as strapping on his gun each morning. Until he comes face to face with meddlesome coed, Rebel Yell Culpepper. He doesn’t know if he should arrest her or kiss her, but one thing Cash knows for sure, Rebel is key to finding the murderer, and the killer knows it too…